Drilon: Some senators showing ‘lack of decorum’ | Inquirer News
Zubiri urged to uphold ‘prestige’

Drilon: Some senators showing ‘lack of decorum’

/ 05:42 AM June 16, 2023

drilon senators lack decorum

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon—FILE PHOTO BY EDWIN BACASMAS

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon appealed to the current members of the Senate to mind their conduct during sessions or committee hearings, saying the “lack of decorum’’ some of them had recently shown could inadvertently erode the chambers’ credibility and prestige.

He urged incumbent Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to “show his displeasure” over such behavior and realize that “this kind of situation cannot go on.”


READ: ‘Very noisy session’: Drilon asks Zubiri to bring back prestige of Senate


Drilon did not single out a senator, but his statement came in the wake of now-viral social media videos showing one lawmaker combing his moustache with hardly an effort to be discreet during plenary and disregarding parliamentary language when trying to make a point.

“With all due respect—and I hope that my former colleagues are not onion-skinned—I’m compelled to speak out on what the public perceives to be the erosion of prestige in the Senate principally by what is perceived to be the lack of decorum by some senators,” Drilon said in an interview on Thursday.

‘Session at the back’

He noted how floor deliberations of late had become so “noisy” on some occasions that the senators “could barely understand one another.”

This also happened during his term, Drilon said, but the situation was immediately addressed before it could get out of hand.

“When I was there I would usually ask for the suspension of the session and someone will move to adjourn ‘session at the back’ (referring to the bantering of some senators) as a matter of putting it lightly,” he recalled. Drilon served in the Senate for four terms, rising to become Senate President in the 11th, 12th, 13th and 16th Congress.

He called on Zubiri to “draw the line” between being cordial with his colleagues and ensuring that propriety prevails in the chamber.


“My good friend (Zubiri) is often called—with good reason—as Mr. Congeniality, but he must draw the line because upholding and restoring the prestige of the Senate is a burden on his shoulder,” he said. “He must see to it that the trust of the people in the Senate as an institution remains high.”

Concerned about image

He noted how some of the current senators, out of rage or frustration when grilling resource persons during committee hearings, would openly blurt out expletives and “unparliamentary” language.

“I do not wish to comment on the individual conduct of senators but I am more concerned about the image of the Senate as an institution… and undeniably, the perception of the Senate by the public has been eroded by what we observed as a lack of proper decorum,” Drilon said.

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“How effective one branch is would depend on the support that they have from the people. If the Senate loses its prestige, it weakens (as an institution) in so far as checking the Executive is concerned,” he said. “The Senate leadership should make sure that the concept of checks and balances can be maintained. If you weaken the Senate, the Executive will run roughshod on other branches.”

TAGS: decorum, Drilon, Senate

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